ong the Alleghanies; and in New England it used to be the rural belief that the Snow-Bird and the Chipping-Sparrow were the same.
After July most of our birds grow silent, and, but for the insects, August would be almost the stillest month in the year,—stiller than the winter, when the woods are often vocal with the Crow, the Jay, and the Chickadee.
But with patient attention one may hear, even far into the autumn, the accustomed notes.
As I sat in my boat, one sunny afternoon of last September, beneath the shady western shore of our quiet lake, with the low sunlight striking almost level across the wooded banks, it seemed as if the last hoarded drops of summer's sweetness were being poured over all the world.
The air was full of quiet sounds.
Turtles rustled beside the brink and slid into the water,— cows plashed in the shallows,—fishes leaped from the placid depths,—a squirrel sobbed and fretted on a neighboring stump,—a katydid across the lake maintained its hard, dry cro
blossoms on a single stalk ; and I could not believe that there was such another mass of color in the world.
Nothing cultivated is comparable to them ; and, with all the talent lately lavished on wild-flower painting, I have never seen the peculiar sheen of these petals in the least degree delineated.
It seems some new and separate tint, equally distinct from scarlet and from crimson, a splendor for which there is as yet no name, but only the reality.
It is the signal of autumn, when September exhibits the first Barrel-Gentian by the roadside ; and there is a pretty insect in the meadows—the Mourning-Cloak Moth it might be called—which gives coincident warning.
The innumerable Asters mark this period with their varied and wide-spread beauty ; the meadows are full of rose-colored Polygala, of the white spiral spikes of the Ladies'-Tresses, and of the fringed loveliness of the Gentian.
This flower, always unique and beautiful, opening its delicate eyelashes every morning to the
ves, at a distance from any chimney, while the mercury on the same side was only fifteen degrees above zero, not having indeed risen above the point of freezing during the whole day.
Dr. Kane pays ample tribute to these kindly properties.
Few of us at home can recognize the protecting value of this warm coverlet of snow.
No eider-down in the cradle of an infant is tucked in more kindly than the sleeping-dress of winter about this feeble flower life.
The first warm snows of August and September, falling on a thickly bleached carpet of grasses, heaths, and willows, enshrine the flowery growths which nestle round them in a non-conducting air-chamber; and as each successive snow increases the thickness of the cover, we have, before the intense cold of winter sets in, a light, cellular bed covered by drift, six, eight, or ten feet deep, in which the plant retains its vitality.... I have found in midwinter, in this high latitude of 78° 50′, the surface so nearly moist as to be friable